Oh, my gosh! I laughed so hard with Pamela on the phone today I’m surprised I didn’t get fired! We were discussing how FAT we had gotten due to the holiday drinking and eating AND the Yuletide lack of exercise. We both admitted the worst… the absolute worst. We look like barrels. Big, fat, aged-wood barrels. We wondered if other overweight people have self-esteem issues. And then the laughing started. We traded outrageous childhood stories of nasty comments Dad had made regarding our weight…and made right to our faces! Dad made it a point, over and over, to make it clear that having a women’s clothing store made me a walking model, a 24 hour 7 day a week representative of his store. He wanted perfection. I look back at photos and think, “Good Lord! I was gorgeous!”. I played a lot of tennis and just ran around as kids do. I was tall, for then, and trim. But Dad said I was overweight. One year I received in my Easter basket a “diet aid” from him. It was a box that contained a place setting of flatware but the spoon was hollowed out, the fork had the tines cut off and the knife had no blade! He laughed and said it was just a joke. I remember being so hurt. And people, I looked good!. Pamela countered with what Dad said to her when she came home from college after gaining the requisite 15 pounds of beer weight. She was straightening up the kitchen when Dad walked in, looked at her and said, “Go ahead. Look like Humpty Dumpty. See if I care!” CAN YOU IMAGINE SAYING THAT TO ANYONE???? Never mind your daughter. And several times when her Rollins boyfriend was coming to visit he suggested to her, “Why don’t you run around the block a couple of times?” REALLY????? Pamela and I howled! She said that her beau was probably pulling into the driveway every time Dad said that! Oh, did we laugh. He said she reminded him of Zack Thomas, the Miami Dolphin’s linebacker! Hey, thanks, Dad. Years later, when I looked like a stout walrus with baby weight after James was born, Dad came over for an unannounced visit. He was quick and to the point. ”Your mother and I are extremely upset. We discussed it agreed that I should talk to you. And I’m only going to say this once. LOSE. THE. WEIGHT.” At that he turned around and walked out. How can you say things like that to your daughters? We were both quite wounded with those brutal types of comments but we marvel now at the fact that 1. We don’t care. 2. It hasn’t affected our body image or self-esteem. 3. It’s deliciously wicked. 4. We don’t care. And we love our dear Papa! We still think he hung the moon and are just crazy about him! He just wants the best for us and it did us no harm. But when you DO want to look a bit better… maybe shed a few pounds, this is the recipe for you… on your party days. I’m including a low-fat version and an I-don’t-care version complete with full fat. This is the way to go when you need to indulge while on a dietary budget!
yield: serves 6 with cocktails
- 1 8-ounce block Neufchatel cheese or regular full-fat if your going for it! at room temperature
- 1/2 stick butter (six tablespoons) if you’re making the full fat version, room temperature
- 2 small cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon each of the following dried oregano, basil, dill and thyme
- crackers – I like Reduced Fat Wheat Thins. I don’t taste a difference in the regular crackers and every little bit helps! Crackers are optional.
- crudite – I use organic vegetables taking into consideration the colors on the serving plate. Bright bell pepper strips, carrot sticks that YOU peeled and cut, raw green beans and broccoli florets… whatever you like!
- Mix cheese with butter if you’re using it and add the garlic and all the herbs.
- Make certain all ingredients are well combined and chill until serving.
- May be made a day or two ahead and is actually better the following day after the ingredients have a chance to marry!
Another option is to use this spread on a low-fat vegetable panino. I use a good whole wheat, whole grain bread. In a hot pan quickly coat with non-stick spray and add thinly sliced red onion to sear. Remove and add whole portobello mushroom caps, gill side down. Turn when needed to cook through. Spread cheese on both insides of bread, add vegetables and grill on panini pan. I use a George Foreman grill. I also put in the sandwich roasted red pepper strips and raw, organic baby super greens. What ever you like is what you can use!